• 7 years Deputy District Attorney
• 5 years Public Defender
• 11 years Private Practice
Making 23 years of combined experience and over 100 trials completed.

If elected to the Humboldt County Superior Court, I will provide a fair and cordial judicial process, where both plaintiffs and defendants, whether in civil or criminal court, will know they are being listened to and their rights protected.

Over the past 17-years, I have worked in nearly equal parts as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.  Those years in court taught me that the ends of justice are not the same in every case.  Each case has unique parties and facts, which inevitably bear on the court’s determination of a just outcome.

For example, in some cases, a jail term is warranted for a guilty party.  In other cases, the guilty party’s social and cultural background or personal circumstances may indicate that a lesser, tailored penalty is appropriate.  What all cases have in common, however, is that a guilty party must be held accountable to the community for any illegal conduct.  And it is accountability, through fair and equal application of the law, that must be the ultimate goal of the court process.

Prior to becoming a criminal law attorney, I worked for several years as a civil litigator.  I thus have the requisite background and experience to handle, from day one, cases in both the Criminal and Civil departments of the Superior Court.

Whatever the case may be, I pledge to listen carefully to all involved, consider the facts and circumstances of each case, and apply the law as required.

I respectfully request your support.


I’ve known Ben for 11 years and worked with him both as a Deputy District Attorney and a Deputy Public Defender.  In that time, I observed Ben in trial—firsthand, in fact—and during his day-to-day representation of clients, whether the client was the People or an indigent.  No matter the client or nature of the case, Ben approached his work ethically and with the same attention to detail.  He always demanded his client’s fair treatment and advocated for just outcomes. Having worked both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Ben possesses a unique perspective and level of experience within the criminal justice system.  I endorse Ben for judge without hesitation.

Luke Brownfield
Humboldt County Public Defender


Judges are the pillar of our legal system, and our legal system can only be as good as the people that serve it. This is why I believe it is essential that a judge have courage, integrity, temperance, fairness, intelligence, and a commitment hard work. I believe it is essential that they have these characteristics because I believe that the wisdom that we seek from judges is found at the intersection of these qualities. Because I believe that Ben McLaughlin has each of these qualities, I am pleased that he has chosen to serve our community as a Superior Court Judge. 

Paul Gallegos
Humboldt County District Attorney (ret.)

I first met Ben McLaughlin not long after I moved back to Humboldt County in 2005 to serve our community with the Eureka Police Department.  I had the pleasure of working with Ben many times over the ensuing years as our paths regularly crossed given his role as a deputy district attorney (and later public defender) and my duties as a law enforcement officer.  My personal and professional experiences with him have been very positive. I’ve always appreciated Ben’s professionalism, commitment, expertise, positivity and humor. I had the opportunity to witness a tenacious and skilled prosecutor/attorney in action many times, particularly during my tenure as the supervising detective-sergeant of EPD’s Problem-Oriented Policing unit (POP).  While I haven’t had the opportunity to work with Ben in recent years, he continues to strike me as a fair person who is committed to justice and the safety and well-being of our community.

Steve Watson
Chief, City of Eureka Police (Retired)


Ben McLaughlin was an outstanding prosecutor.

Tom Chapman
Chief, City of Arcata Police (Retired)

I have known Ben McLaughlin since 2017, and also work with him at the Public Defender’s Office. I have personally observed his commitment to his clients, his diligent approach to their defense, and his genuine concern for the best outcome in each case. Ben is ethical, fair, and a very experienced attorney.

His experience as both a former prosecutor and a current public defender has given him a unique insight into the legal system, and how it impacts every party involved in each case. It is my belief that these qualities will be an asset to the community, as well as his working knowledge of the particular challenges that Humboldt County faces. Ben is a great choice for judge, and I am happy to endorse him.

Andrea McClure
Legal Secretary II, Public Defender’s Office


Ben McLaughlin is a capable and honorable attorney. During my time opposing him as an advocate, he brought common sense, humility, and a respect for all participants in our local criminal justice system to court every day. Even when the case involved some of the most emotionally difficult issues, Mr. McLaughlin ably represented his client, protected his client’s rights, and respected the time of the jurors and witnesses- without shenanigans or gamesmanship. I know he will bring the same attention, compassion, and dignity to the bench, and I wholeheartedly endorse his candidacy for Judge of the Humboldt County Superior Court.

Tobias Hasler
Former Deputy District Attorney (2017-2020)
Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office


My family and I are forever grateful to Mr. Ben McLaughlin for the compassion, determination, and perseverance he showed my family while he represented our father as a court appointed public defender.  Mr. McLaughlin worked tirelessly to see that my father received the mental health treatment and services that he desperately needed. He worked diligently to ensure my father, a 73 year old Army Veteran, got the level of support from the Veterans Administration that he now required. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Ben McLaughlin, he is a true asset to the Humboldt County Legal System.

Benjamin French


Ben McLaughlin is an old-school attorney. He intuitively understands the issues in his cases and vigorously advocates for his clients, but he is always ethical in how he does it. When he was opposing counsel, I trusted his word without question. There is no doubt in my mind that he would make a diligent and fair judge, and be a great addition to the Humboldt County bench.

Josh Rosenfeld

Mr. Ben McLaughlin has been a consistent thread throughout what was an extremely arduous journey, standing to represent my immediate family member suffering from PTSD, following his service in the US Marine Corps.  A Marine veteran himself, it was evident from the beginning that Mr. McLaughlin’s objective was to approach our case with the truth of the facts, integrity, and character. His discernment in identifying and then standing up for the potential rehabilitation of an individual suffering from the effects of unfortunate circumstances, gave my family member a second chance to now be a contributing member of our society. I have first handedly experienced and observed, in and out of the courtroom, Mr. McLaughlin’s service to Humboldt County as a Public Defender and I am eternally grateful for his commitment to our community.

Melinda L. Nickols
San Antonio, TX

Ben McLaughlin has excellent judgement and I wholeheartedly support his bid for Humboldt County judge.
We would all be fortunate to be served by someone with the intellect, humanity, and tirelessness that Mr. McLaughlin showed our father and our family. When our aging father’s mental health issues resulted in unsafe behavior and serious legal problems, Mr. McLaughlin did all he could to get him the treatment he so needed. Mr. McLaughlin is kind and good and we are forever grateful for everything he did for our family.

Isabel French
Hydesville, CA


Luke Brownfield
Humboldt County Public Defender

Tom Chapman
Chief, City of Arcata Police, Retired

Paul Gallegos
Humboldt County District Attorney, Retired

Tibora Girczyc-Blum
Campaign Manager for Adrian Kamada

Hoopa Valley Tribe

Adrian Kamada
Candidate for District Attorney

Councilman Mike Losey

John McManus

Katherine Micks
District Attorney of Del Norte County

Marek Reavis
Humboldt County Public Defender, Retired

Steve Watson
Chief, City of Eureka Police, Retired

Yurok Tribe


Jason Akana

Scott Aponte

Dusty Asbill

Josh Comer

Joe Conlin

Tom Cooke

Gary Cooper

Amber Cosetti

Seth Crosswhite

Steven Dunn

Bryon Franco

Cheryl Franco

Darren Ghisetti

John “Drake” Goodale

Brian Grossman

Scott Hicks

Tim Jones

Adam Laird

Tim Marsolan

Ric Medley

Travis Mendes

Jim Mowrey

Martin Perrone

Joshua Phinney

Bryan Taylor

Jennifer Taylor


Nicole Bockelman

Zack Curtis

Elan Firpo
Campaign Manager, Ben McLaughlin For Judge 2022

Toby Hasler

Autumn Rindels

Joshua Rosenfeld

Jeremiah Ross

Jason Sheets

Davina Smith


Jessica Bennett

Kylie Boyd

David Celli
Treasurer, Ben McLaughlin For Judge 2022

Rosemary Deck

Bradley Dixon

Brad Floyd

Carlton Floyd

Mark Harris

Joe Judge

Larry Klein

Tony Klein

Ben Mainzer

Kelly Neel

Meagan O’Connell

Casey Russo

Jennie Stepanian

Owen Tipps

April Van Dyke

Emily Wingett


Alicia Aponte

Suzanne Collins

Larrissa Conlin

Mariah Edwards

Marie Essig

Michael Evenson

Benjamin French

Isabel French

Tracy Guevara-Sandoval

Kate Hicks

Amy Hunt

Shar Lo Kelly

Sheryl Klein

Dr. Kevin Long

Melissa Long

Ann Losey

Andrea McClure

John McManus

Lacy Mitchell

Russell Morey

Raechel Nankervis

Lori Rock

Richard Salzman

Mike and Nicki Smith

Isabella Wotherspoon

Elizabeth Zwiker



Campaign Manager – Elan Firpo

Treasurer – David Celli

Social Media – Isabella Wotherspoon

Veterans Outreach – Joe Conlin

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